๐Ÿ‘‰ Although the intent of the Arbitration Act is to limit the extent of judicial intervention, the reality beckons, on the contrary to the mercy of courts all the time. The inordinate delays in domestic Arbitration scenario is attributed to the court interference and the parties themselves.

๐Ÿ‘‰ The local courts have the power to intervene to assist arbitration proceedings seated in its jurisdiction.

The assistance can be in one of the following ways:

1.Reference of disputes to arbitration (section 8, Arbitration Act).

2.Granting interim measures in aid of arbitration (section 9, Arbitration Act).

3. Appointing arbitrators (section 11, Arbitration Act).

4. Deciding any controversy regarding an arbitrator’s mandate (section 14, Arbitration Act).

5. Enforcing interim orders of the arbitral tribunal (section 17, Arbitration Act).

6. Assistance in taking evidence including for summoning witnesses and producing documents (section 27 Arbitration Act).

7. Penalising and punishing parties for non-compliance with orders of the arbitral tribunal (section 27, Arbitration Act).

8. Extending an arbitral tribunal’s mandate, substituting one or more arbitrators on an arbitral tribunal, or penalising the tribunal or the parties for a delay in pursuing arbitration proceedings (section 29(A), Arbitration Act).

9. Hearing challenges to an arbitral award in a setting-aside application (section 34, Arbitration Act).

10. Hearing appeals from certain decisions of the arbitral tribunal . (section 37, Arbitration Act), such as when a plea of lack of jurisdiction is accepted (section 16) or an interim measure sought of the arbitral tribunal is denied (section 17, Arbitration Act).Payment of costs to the tribunal before the rendering of an award (section 39, Arbitration Act).

11. Extension of time periods fixed by the parties for the initiation of arbitration (section 43(3), Arbitration Act).

๐Ÿ‘‰ In the past years, there have been significant delays at each stage where a court has intervened in the context of an arbitration.

๐Ÿ‘‰This was attributable both to the willingness of the courts to engage in the merits of arbitration, and to the severe backlog of cases that burden the judicial system.

๐Ÿ‘‰ Similarly, in proceedings initiated to set aside arbitration awards, courts previously engaged in a re-assessment of the merits of the arbitration, or an arbitrator’s erroneous application of law, or appreciation of evidence.

๐Ÿ‘‰These proceedings were extremely lengthy and often much longer than the underlying arbitration itself.

๐Ÿ‘‰ In practice, while the courts have embraced to some extent the limitation on their scope of enquiry, they have generally not been able to complete proceedings within the prescribed time limit.

๐Ÿ‘‰ Judicial reforms to expedite the court process is the only way to make India as the hub of arbitration or otherwise it will remain as a distant dream!


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